The name of this trail says it all. I mean..who doesn’t want to See Forever? It’s also what helped convince me that we should tackle this long, strenuous high altitude hike. I knew it would be hard, but figured the view would make up for the pain.
The hike started off easy with a brisk 5 minute walk to the gondola and a quick 10 minute descent up 1,750 ft. to the trailhead
The top of the gondola, and the start of the trail, has an elevation of 10,500 ft. From there we had a four mile, 1,700 ft. climb ahead of us.
It was as hard as I thought it would be. Especially the first mile which was basically straight up a ski trail. After that the trail turned into a wide switchbacked road that wound up along the ridge. The switchbacks made things a tiny bit easier. It was slow going though. We were trudging more than we were hiking. Sometimes on a short, easy hikes we challenge ourselves to set a good pace for the sake of exercise, but on a long hike such as this above 10,000 ft. we take our time and stop often.
Finally we reached the high point of the trail. Sure enough, you could see forever.
From here we began our descent down into the basin on the back side of the mountain. Because we took the gondola part way up, our descent was much longer than our ascent. We had 3,500 ft. to hike down over a distance of approximately 5 miles. As anyone who regularly hikes mountains knows, down is not always easier than up. It can be really hard on the body, and in this case the trail was comprised of loose gravel which meant we had to take careful steps to avoid sliding down the mountain.
The very best part of the downhill section were the brilliant yellow, orange and red colored hillsides. It was our first taste of fall colors and almost made up for the pain in my feet, ankles, and hips.
This hike left us sore and exhausted, but as I suspected, the views more than made up for the pain. We only have a few more weeks left in Colorado, and don’t plan to spend them in an area with these kind of hiking options. Which means this might just be our last epic Rocky Mountain hike for awhile. I’d say we picked a good one to end with.